Twister did not set any records in the ca 200 mile passage to Shetland. She arrived Lerwick, Shetland Islands, (Scotland, United Kingdom) the evening of Thursday April 16 three and a half days out of Askøy (Bergen), Norway.
|Bergen looking lovely after a fresh dusting of snow|
I won't deny being more than a little nervous on departure day: the forecast did not promise a fast and comfortable passage and it had been more than a year and a half since Twister had sailed the open ocean. As is often the case, the anticipation was worse than the reality, but it was not trade wind sailing (ie downwind). The lowest moment was the afternoon of the first day. As always, the inside passage of the Norwegian west coast provided comfortable sailing. Soon after passing Marstein light (which marks one of the main entrances to the fjord system around Bergen) and entering the open ocean the northerly breeze died, but there was plenty of confused seas left over from days of strong wind from various directions. Twister was pitching and rolling with great gusto and the sails were slatting maddeningly. It's a special kind of irony being tossed about due to lack of wind as one is dreading upcoming gales. The southerly breeze arrived around sundown and was soon blowing at gale force (just an estimate). Twister made fast work of the first 100 miles, but then, as forecast, the winds turned westerly. The next two days were spent beating into and tacking into the westerlies making slow progress in the desired direction (west).
Using the storm jib on the inner forestay made for much more comfortable sailing than using a small patch of the roller furler genoa. The winds eased the evening of day 3 (Wednesday) and by Thursday around noon, they had died, leaving Twister 30 miles from Lerwick and 20 miles to some nearer islands (Out Skerries) but which I suspected did not have pub, the population being around 10. Grudgingly I started the engine and motored most of the remaining distance (some sailing with intermittent puffs of northerly breeze) to Lerwick.
|Land Ho - Isle Of Noss|
|Two Sailboats From Bergen - Twister and Statsraad Lemhkuhl|
Friday morning I was surprised to see Statsraad Lehmkuhl, a 3-masted brig from Bergen, dock nearby. She apparently took two days from Bergen.
I arrived The Shetland Islands just in time to enjoy some (I suspect) unseasonably nice weather for the next couple of days (see weather map below - The Shetland Islands are directly under the H in the high pressure system).